Technology Record - Issue 25: Summer 2022

34 As businesses settle into new working practices, Nick Parker discusses Microsoft’s new partner programme, its bold sustainability goals and the role of digital events Driving value The working world is changing. We caught up with Nick Parker, corporate vice president of global partner solutions at Microsoft, to find out how the global technology leader is adjusting its practices for its own purposes, and for its partners and customers. Tell us a little about your role at Microsoft – what’s your background, how long have you been with the corporation and what are your main objectives? I have been at Microsoft for more than 22 years, starting as the director of systems integrator partnerships in the enterprise team. I have built and grown several global scale teams and businesses focused on customer value through partnerships, across technology partners, PC, server and internet of things partners and channel ecosystems. As the corporate vice president for global partner solutions, I am currently accountable for the teams driving the commercial partner business, focusing on accelerating partner growth and success by building and selling world-class solutions with partners, while driving value for our shared customers. I’m fortunate to lead a worldwide team that drives end-to-end execution of commercial partner strategies and programmes internationally, thus delivering Microsoft Cloud revenue through and with independent software vendors, global system integrators, devices partners, and services partners. What are the main changes being planned for the new Microsoft Partner Program and can you tell us more about how they might affect the Microsoft customer experience? At the ‘State of the Partner Ecosystem’ presentation in March 2022, we announced the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program – the first major evolution of the Microsoft partner programme in 15 years. It is designed to create new opportunities for partners and customers and best represents the ongoing transition of business operations to the cloud. Our intention is to ensure our partners are best positioned to succeed. We are taking the step to invest in our ecosystem to deeply integrate with new capabilities and respond to how customers now buy and use Microsoft technology – enabling digital transformation and supporting partners so that they can meet customers’ evolving needs within the continued evolution of the customer journey. Microsoft is committed to investing in, and building, our partners’ technical capabilities and helping them differentiate, scale their solutions through our go-to-market engines, and leverage our channel to deliver customer success. To that end, we’re re-categorising how we measure partner success with the partner capability score focused on proficiency in six solution areas aligned with the Microsoft Cloud: Data & AI (Azure), Infrastructure (Azure), Digital & App Innovation (Azure), Business Applications, Modern Work, and Security. Customers can better understand a partner’s capability score through two qualifying levels: the solutions partner designation and specialisations/expert programmes. The partner capability score evaluates a partner based on their certifications, added customers, successful deployments and overall growth. Microsoft is investing in ongoing partner benefits to ensure E X E CUT I V E I NT E R V I EW BY ANDY C L AY TON - SM I TH “ Microsoft has bold sustainability goals leading up to 2030”